Celtics  legend Bill Russell  was among 15 people awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom  by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, the highest honor the president can bestow on a civilian. Kevin Garnett  was asked about Russell and his impact.
“Not only did he transcend on the court, but off the court,” Garnett said. “Being righteous for what he believed in, and speaking up and standing up for that right. Different times back in the day, man. I respect a lot of the OG’s just because they went through in order for us to be here today. Bill Russell is everything and I just want to say congratulations.”
Garnett was then asked why players don’t speak as forcibly as Russell once did. He cited the media culture and also noted that players are more cautious.
“I don’t think people are as opinionated out loud just because of the uproar they can start,” Garnett said. “These days when you bring out issues that cause attention to not only yourself, but your team, it can be labeled a distraction.”
Garnett had one further thought on Russell and what today’s players can take from him, as well as the great players of the past.
“I don’t think we go to the extreme to prove a point or go to the extreme to really remember that this is our league,” Garnett said. “I think those days are over. I think the commissioner has a lot of say on how this league is run. The only way you can sustain a solid league is to carry things over. That’s all going to be up to the players.”